I know what you are thinking. This entrance is not very auspicious, but wait until you are out that door, because the food is certainly worth it.
“Casa da India” is an institution among Lisbon’s “tascas” and one of my favourites. Unlike the name suggests, it serves nothing like Indian food, but rather very traditional Portuguese dishes. It’s probably called this way because it was formerly a shop that sold spices from India. “Casa da India” was actually an Organisation that managed Portuguese trade around the 16th century and was one of the most important economic institutions at the time. This Casa da India hasn’t been around for that long, but its more than 60 years of existence should tell you something.
History aside this is a great spot to get a taste of Portuguese cuisine and culture. It’s a relaxed, chaotic place, with waiters rushing around and lively groups of people chatting (mostly locals but due to its location you will find many tourists too). There is no formality and no room for pickiness – you will have to sit down at whatever table is available, with whoever is sitting there, as the place is packed every night.
Portions are large enough to share and you should try as many things as possible, I recommend the Arroz de Marisco (seafood rice), secretos de porco preto (grilled Iberian pork) or the alheira (a kind of Portuguese sausage). The house wine is usually pretty good too.